On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN sat down with Money B and Young Hump of Digital Underground to discuss their careers, classic songs and best memories.
Founded and led by the late Shock G, Digital Underground rose to fame in the 80s and subsequently became known for their fun and whimsical style. After scoring a hit song in the Netherlands, the Oakland, Calif. group inked a record deal with Tommy Boy Music in 1989. Their debut album, Sex Packets, was released the following year. The project spawned the singles “Doowutchyalike” and “The Humpty Dance,” with the latter going on to become a major hit. In addition to reaching No. 11 on Billboard’s pop chart, it also peaked at No. 1 on the Hot Rap Singles. On the track, Shock rhymed as his alter ego “Humpty Hump,” a character he would continue to portray for most of his career. Though the group became famous for the shtick, Shock grew tired of performing as Humpty in the 2010s and later recruited Young Hump to take over the role and tour with the group. Shock used the time away to work on his music production, then tragedy struck in 2021 when he was found dead in a Tampa, Fla. hotel room. Months later, it was reported that he died from a drug overdose.
Over the years, Digital Underground has been recognized as a highly influential hip hop group for a multitude of reasons. In addition to the innovative and jazzy sound Shock G established and became famous for, the group helped launch Tupac Shakur’s career. When the late legend was trying to break into the music industry, Shock G hired him as a backup dancer. Then, when Tupac recorded his debut album, 2Pacalyspe Now, Shock co-produced the project. Their collaborations continued on Pac’s sophomore effort, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z., when he tapped Shock and Money B to appear on the 1993 track “I Get Around.” The single became the late rapper’s first breakout hit, peaking at No. 11 on Billboard.
REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from Digital Underground’s “Drink Champs” interview. Check them out below.
1. On Shock G wanting to step down from his “Humpty Hump” character
Although Shock G gleaned popularity from portraying his famous alter ego, Humpty Hump, he grew tired of playing the character. As a result, Young Hump was recruited in Shock’s place. “Shock was just burned out on it,” Money B explained. “Plus, he wanted to play his jazz. Shock wanted to lean more into the musicianship, and I’m a hip hop nigga. Shock always wanted to be Shock and stay behind the keyboard, but we were always looking for someone to play that character that could actually rhyme as well.”
Young Hump added that he received a personal endorsement from Shock to be his replacement, and the late rapper even recommended his protégé be cast in the “All Eyez on Me” movie. “I showed him the video [of me performing] and he was like, ‘You got it,’” Young Hump revealed. “He was putting out the word to people and he recommended me to play him [in ‘All Eyez on Me’]. When me and [Money] started rocking shows, that gave a nigga the credibility.”
2. On appearing in the film “Nothing But Trouble”
In 1991, Digital Underground and Tupac made a cameo appearance in the Dan Aykroyd and Demi Moore film “Nothing But Trouble.” Money B explained on “Drink Champs” that De La Soul was originally slated to appear in the flick, but when they couldn’t commit the opportunity was given to his group instead. “The reason that we were in that movie was because they originally wanted De La to be in it and they were busy,” Money admitted. “So, Tommy Boy was like we got these other motherfuckers, and Dan Aykroyd came to one of our shows and saw us. Tommy Boy put us on.”
3. On getting dropped by Tommy Boy Music
Money said Tommy Boy Music dropped them when Shock G refused to make another song that was like the group’s 1991 single “Kiss You Back.” “We were on the road and Tommy Boy was pressuring Shock to make another ‘Kiss You Back,’” Money explained. “One thing that I always say: The only constant to Digital Underground is change. We never are going to do the same thing that we did. Shock did the opposite of [‘Kiss You Back’] on that next album. He made it gritty without making anything like those type of songs. They was like ‘Fuck y’all’ and that was it.”
4. On the East Coast-West Coast rivalry
In the mid 1990s, the East Coast-West Coast feud was at its peak. But, while rappers from both coasts traded disses on wax, Money said that Digital Underground wasn’t impacted by the rivalry. “It really didn’t exist in our space,” he insisted. “It was really just Big and Pac. I blame it on the magazines and the media because they perpetuated it. If you were outside of the hip hop community for real, then you might believe that. It didn’t affect any of my relationships.”
5. On Tupac Shakur’s wild personality
Based on the many stories that have been shared about Tupac over the years, it’s safe to say the late rapper led a pretty wild life. Money B confirmed the “California Love” emcee definitely had an unrestrained personality, claiming Pac’s true demeanor was actually worse than Bishop’s (the menacing character Pac played in the movie Juice). “The myth that I always hear is people would say, ‘Pac really think he’s Bishop,’” Money shared. “But he was wilder than Bishop before that. By the time y’all knew him as Bishop, he had calmed down. He was just a wild nigga.”
6. On groupie love
With songs like “Freaks of the Industry,” “The Humpty Dance,” and “Sex Packets,” Digital Underground always made it clear that sex was one of their favorite pastimes. Money told the “Drink Champs” crew a wild story about how a groupie once told Shock to stay in character as Humpty while getting intimate. “One time, I remember him [saying], ‘Humpty Hump just got his first piece of pussy,’” Money recalled. “[Shock said] the girl wanted [him] to keep the nose on. He was not happy about that. He [still] did it.”
7. On “The Humpty Dance”
Following its release in 1990, “The Humpty Dance” became one of the group’s most successful singles and one of hip hop’s most-sampled songs. Money talked about the creation of the track during the interview and revealed that it almost didn’t make their album. “’The Humpty Dance’ and ‘Freaks of the Industry’ were the last few songs that we recorded,” he said. “And the only reason we recorded them was because two of the songs didn’t get cleared. The first time I heard [‘The Humpty Dance’], I was like this is it.”
8. On shooting the “I Get Around” video
Tupac reached out to Digital Underground again in 1993 to record the song “I Get Around.” The video for the track went on to become famous for its raunchiness, as it showed the rappers surrounded by women at a wild party. Money B recalled what it was like shooting the video and told a story about how the crew all planned to go out later that evening. Unfortunately, he ended up missing everything. “It was the best day of my life and the worst day of my life,” he said. “It was a lot of breezies there. We go back to the hotel — all I know is I laid down, I woke up, and it was the next morning.”
9. On the “All Eyez on Me” movie
Although Tupac’s 2017 biopic “All Eyez on Me” did well in the box office during opening weekend, critics and fans questioned the movie’s accuracy. Money, who appeared in the film as himself, spoke out about the criticism the film received. “I will tell everybody that I thought it was a good movie and I don’t have a problem with it,” he said. “If people say: ‘Well, they didn’t tell everything’ or ‘They compressed it,’ I’ll accept people’s opinions. But I’ll never leave a room letting anybody think I was a part of a bad project — it wasn’t. Everybody on that set did everything they could to be as precise [as possible]. I thought it was as accurate as it could be.”